Friday Forum – Should Christians volunteer for military service?

Posted: September 14, 2012 in Friday Forum
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Welcome to the Friday Forum: a place to have some friendly discussion about issues that arise when Christianity and secular life “rub against” each other. There is no right or wrong here, just different ways to deal with things that come up. Each week I will post a topic, and my thoughts on it, and we will see where the comments take us!

Elections in this country seem to be the only time that people want to discuss some of the basic assumptions that we operate on a a nation, and this election cycle is no different. The United States is involved in wars, police actions, military interventions…whatever name you want to call them…all over the world, and the politicians are making as much hay from this fact as they can, with both sides claiming to “support the troops” but also trumpeting the need to “protect America’s interests” at home and abroad.

I am no peacenik radical who feels that all things martial are by definition evil; at the same time, I have a real problem with the idea that the best way to serve and protect a nation necessarily involves asking my government to give me a gun and send me to a foreign land with permission to kill people we choose to call “the enemy”. That just doesn’t sound like what Jesus had in mind when He addresses His audience in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:43-44 –

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

So here is the forum topic for this week:  Should Christians volunteer for military service? Post your comments below, I will reply throughout the week, and next Friday we will discuss a different topic.

Following hard after Him,


  1. Warren says:

    As a 35+ year member of the Royal Canadian Air Force (and still in uniform), who has spent five years assigned in the US, I’m thinking your question must put you very much at odds with most of those around you (an SBC church attendee in Texas). Then again, maybe I’m letting the stereotypes that I find hard to shake get the best of me. It’s a valid question, though. I believe profession of arms is not proscribed by Scripture, but the form it takes in the US – the most militaristic nation on the planet – often seems over the top.

    • nicky301 says:

      Warren, you are not confused about stereotypes – people have left our church because the new pastor (whom I support) has voiced this conviction out loud from the pulpit. And please, I mean no disrespect to your service to Canada, and to the US for that matter – Thank you Sir, and all others in uniform as well!

      I do believe that the policies of previous and even current administrations seem predicated on an endless supply of troops, with no clearly definable enemy to fight, or victory to be had…and Arab Spring seems to be leading us to a much hotter winter. The pressure on the politicians to do something will be vocal and unrelenting, and I have grave concerns about what their choices will be.

      But in the end, it’s my personal choices that I will answer for when I stand before God; I just thought some civil discussion would be helpful to others trying to work out their own answers.

      • Warren says:

        As a small aside, my pastor, who has been at our church for almost six years, is an American. He did his seminary training at a SBC institution in New Orleans. Prior to that, he spent 12 years in the US Army as an intelligence officer; so we have a common bond shared by all most military members. He’s still trying to get a handle on us “odd” Canadians, though. Some things he says, that would almost certainly resonate with an American congregation, fall completely flat in our church (which is not a Baptist). He’s a good man, though, and I like him.